"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living."
Imagine if we began raising the next crop of kids who could stand on the Word of God without yielding, who recognised how to maintain the Christian faith, and could actually respond well to the sceptical questions of this day! These kids will become grownups who have a passion for sharing the gospel in God’s Word with whomever they meet!
Have you questioned if Sunday school should even be a thing? Maybe you have never taught before, and or possibly you do not feel particularly well-equipped. OR maybe you believe that Sunday school is for the saved (and kids of the saved) to develop and prepare as little believers. Well, okay, it is for Christians, but it is also the place that pre-Christians can sit amid believers as they all study and discuss the Scripture, be they young or old. But it has come to pass that many, and I mean MANY kids find a reason not to go. And many parents support it for decent reasons.
Just in case it crosses your mind while reading ahead, I thought I would tell you straight away that am not anti-Sunday school, although I WILL offer as few "buts" and "howevers." My dad functioned in the role of preacher/pastor, his father-in-law was an elder, my father-in-law spent many years as an elder, my mother and mother-in-law taught Sunday school for MANY MANY years, I experienced and shared in that teaching, and I was a youth leader for several years in and after grad school. Yet I am greatly concerned with the future of our younger generations, my own kids included.
I'm guessing you may have trouble with kids of your own giving a piffle about the church. I'm also only assuming (because it's normal) that your Sunday School teacher(s) has/have no formal training as classroom leaders and are just ‘winging it’ on Sunday because they want to help your church or ministry out. This doesn't have to be a BAD thing. I mean, they may not be qualified to teach, and they certainly may not be trained to teach, but they are simply teaching out of the generosity of their hearts.
And that's way cool. Seriously. Again, BUT ...
Why don't your kids WANT to go to church, and why am I bringing this up? I'm not targeting my church, your church, or any church, but I'd like for you to think about your church for a minute and consider what YOU might wish was different about Sunday school for kids, and what would you want to change if you could? I am not saying the current Christian education programs within the church need to be eradicated, but I do propose that they absolutely need to be renovated. I'm going to offer a couple of recommendations ... and a few ideas ... you know, other than sending an entire class to the gym. ;)
Churches need to APPRAISE the teachers teaching Sunday School and ensure they know how to answer the sceptical questions and know how to teach apologetics—and know how to teach the age group being entrusted to them. It’s one thing to tell students what to believe, it’s another thing to teach and communicate that in a convincing and gripping way.
Why? You are probably well aware that most church-going adults cannot adequately defend the basics of their Christian faith or basic doctrines, let alone defend the faith against the sceptical questions of this scientific age. How many can really even properly answer questions such as: Where did the Bible come from? What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? Aren’t there other books that some say should be in the Bible? How do you know Jesus is God?—just to name a few.
It’s one thing to tell students what to believe, it’s another thing to teach and communicate that in a convincing and gripping way.
That being said, how about we totally REEVALUATE THE CURRICULA we are using (including VBS programs), and at the very least supplement at all age levels and all years with good apologetics curricula? Yes, I just said apologetics, even in elementary years. And I am not just talking about creation apologetics; I mean general biblical apologetics as well. Apologetics is simply a justification of something, typically a belief or religious doctrine (look it up!), and yes, you can do that, even with the younguns.
I just said "apologetics" a lot, didn't I? But I mean ... really, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that the curriculum and aid materials you give a Sunday School teacher might just be MORE important than those you give to a traditional school teacher? And I say that ... unapologetically. *wink*
I mean the Bible is GOD'S WORD!!! I was recently inspired by my friend, Douglas, here ...
... we are reading "the very-words-of-God. And that is AWESOME!"
So when I spoke of “renovating” at the beginning, I actually meant something much more aggressive than simply redecorating. A little updating isn’t doing the job, and it's just making non-education look pretty. This "Douglas" has revamped one approach and more and more curricula (such as VBS programs and supplemental curricula for different ages) that are apologetic in nature thank heaven is being produced more and more to begin to fulfil the aforementioned need. Our Scripture Scout Sleuth for the Truth curriculum is one of them.
I truly believe (and I'll bet you do too), that:
Unless the truths behind the Christian faith are shared openly and communicated in a convincing way in order for students to discover and treasure, their faith will NOT stand the attack of rejection from the world.
What do YOU think? Maybe the entire structure and focus of our programs need to be reconsidered. Could we be willing to make drastic changes in the arrangement and the style of our plans? Shall we resolve to discover how they can be MOST effective in teaching TRUTH to our children? If we take the time to do this, we are also overcoming the issues that are making them question biblical authority and driving them away from the church.
SO WHAT KIND OF MATERIALS SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR TO KEEP THEM INTERESTED?
- a Bible curriculum that is MEATY, but also ...
- something a layperson could use and understand
- teaching plans that could “bailout” the volunteer when they run out of ideas while still providing MEAT
- something that provides a virtual “buffet” of options for the Sunday School teacher(s) to do during class
- curriculum that is active and energetic but also meets all learning needs (yes, this DOES exist!)
- a solid plan that could still be easy to SHARE with other teachers
- a Bible curriculum that inspires a student to WANT to hide His Word in their hearts
These characteristics are the first order of business in The Scripture Scout's Sleuth for the Truth. And yes, I'd love for you to check it out -- the first two lessons are FREE and could possibly be spread over a month, depending on your needs. But that's up to you and your team (hopefully you're on one!).
So anyway, back to the rant ...
Yes, my husband and I had a great blessing of being raised by parents who took creative and determined responsibility for teaching us directly from God’s Word and living a biblical life. Our fathers, as the spiritual heads of the home, stood uncompromisingly on the Word of God, determined to be equipped to answer the sceptical questions of the age, setting an example for their children that prepared us for the ministries we are involved in today. And hey, I want to encourage you not to simply delegate a ministry you can actually be involved in at home. It’s one of the most rewarding and important aspects of being a parent. And do it right now. There’s no time to waste.
However, I am also very well aware that the throwback of poor traditional education is extremely high. Poor education means poor jobs, yep. The reason THERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE is that the stakes of a lesser spiritual education are ETERNAL. So we need to make sure to ponder wisely before deciding what and how we will teach our kids!
"Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people ... concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple."
II Timothy 2:15-18
Perhaps you agree that it would be going too far to eradicate Sunday school altogether, but hopefully, you will agree it’s certainly time to - well, to renovate it. We are losing the next generation—we are losing the culture. And in the belief that radical renovation is needed urgently, I do propose to you an option from the many Sunday school curricula that are out there.
Can you envision what would happen if we started raising the next generation of kids who could stand on the Word of God without concessions, who knew how to defend the Christian faith, that could actually answer the sceptical questions of this day and time, and had a passion to share the gospel in God’s Word with whomever they met!?
Can you? I think you can see pretty clear how that could change the world.